Spotify executive Horacio Gutierrez has explained in a wide-reaching interview with The Verge why the company believes Apple is a “ruthless bully” and what it would like to see change.
Last month, Gutierrez penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that chastised Apple and some of its business practices. Now, Spotify’s head of global affairs and chief legal officer has expanded on the logic behind the company’s antitrust dispute with Apple.
Gutierrez’s main justification underpinning the argument that Apple’s App Store payment system is not a necessary part of its business is that it “wasn’t part of the App Store in the beginning.”
“Concretely, when it comes to the AppStore, it is very clear that the choice to tie Apple’s proprietary payment system to the AppStore was an arbitrary choice. It wasn’t part of the App Store in the beginning, just as the 30 percent Apple tax wasn’t a requirement when we made it into the App Store. They bolted that on later in the process and in doing that, they created this environment in which competing apps really have to contend with Apple’s own music streaming service as well as other competing products on what’s not really a level playing field.”
Apple’s 30%t commission on App Store sales and in-app purchases was also raised as an “arbitrary rate,” and Gutierrez explained that it is not merely a reduction in commission that Spotify is looking to achieve.
“The issue is not whether the rate is 30 or 15 or 10 percent, the issue is that the rate is arbitrary and they get to set it unilaterally because they’ve insulated themselves from competition. What should happen is Apple should be able to charge 30, or 50 percent, if they can convince users in a market economy that the value that they provide justifies the 30 percent, or the 15 percent, or the 50 percent. What we’re saying is they actually prevent competitors from coming in and offering alternative payment systems, and therefore there is no market.”
Gutierrez explained that Spotify would like to see Apple return to its previous approach with the App Store and loosen its grip on rules and penalties.
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